Hasher’s $4K Run

<rant>

Absolutely freakin’ amazing. Some Hash House Harriers do what they do all the time, sending an ignorant township’s leaders into a tizzy. Instead of facing a felony conviction, they pay $4,000 as a plea bargain.

People have lost their paranoid, freakin’ minds.

Perhaps, using prosecutor Marc Ramia’s words, we should prosecute all fast food joints because the spreading of such food “creates a dangerous situation for the public, who are not aware of what the substance is.”

</rant>

Full text follows:

Flour-sprinkling joggers out of trouble

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Charges have been dropped against two siblings who inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare when they sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club.

New Haven ophthalmologist Daniel Salchow, 36, and his sister, Dorothee, 31, who was visiting from Hamburg, Germany, had been charged with first-degree breach of peace, a felony.

The charges were dropped Thursday after Daniel Salchow agreed he and his sister would donate $4,000 to local charities. Prosecutors could reopen the case if the Salchows do the same thing again in the next 13 months.

Dorothee has returned to Germany and prosecutors agreed not to require her to appear in court.

The siblings set off the scare while organizing a run for a local chapter of the Hash House Harriers, a worldwide group that bills itself as a “drinking club with a running problem.”

“Hares” are given the task of marking a trail to direct runners, throwing in some dead ends and forks as challenges. In August, the Salchows decided to route runners through an IKEA furniture store parking lot.

Police fielded a call that someone was sprinkling powder on the ground. The store was evacuated and remained closed the rest of the night. The incident prompted a massive response from police in New Haven and surrounding towns.

Daniel Salchow biked back to IKEA when he heard there was a problem and told officers the powder was just flour, which he said he and his sister have sprinkled everywhere from New York to California without incident.

Daniel Salchow and his attorney, Michael Jefferson, said they were pleased with the resolution but still believe authorities overreacted.

“We felt all along it was an innocent activity,” Jefferson said.

Many fellow runners sent letters of protest over the Salchows’ arrest, but New Haven officials maintain their response was warranted.

Prosecutor Marc Ramia said in court Thursday that spreading such material “creates a dangerous situation for the public, who are not aware of what the substance is.”

For the actual page.

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8 thoughts on “Hasher’s $4K Run”

  1. I can understand that sprinkling of a powder that matches the newspaper descriptions of an anthrax agent may be regarded as having nuisance value….

    [still no prosecution respective of those mailings years back]

  2. I guess that’s Newhaven for ya’. I would make some gag about the Land of The Free, but we’re not allowed to hold any unauthorised protests within 1km of Parliament, so I can hardly talk.

    Hash chases bring back all sorts of happy memories of school – leading the pack on false trails into rivers, nettles, and on one occasion, a veritable lake of cow s**t. Great days.

    Due to surprise jet lag, I missed a hare & hounds run in New York a couple of years back. They’d just changed their marking material from flour to . . . to something that I can’t remember now. Anyway, they changed it to avoid just this sort of problem. (The getting arrested as obvious terrorists with a good 4lb of anthrax cunningly hidden in a bag marked ‘flour’ problem, not the cow problem).

  3. @Brent,

    While I can agree with the nuisance value, I do not see the value in charging these folks with a felony. Fining them to recoup costs? Sure. But threatening with a felony conviction that would seriously impact their entire lives? That’s a prosecutor that’s gone overboard.

    Just my $.02.

    -bill

  4. @Tea,

    I find that one to be just as bad, if not worse. There you have a girl who’s engaged in a perfectly innocent, actually socially uplifting, act. An overzealous school employee who obviously can’t think for themselves decided to throw the “equal application of rules” flag. There you have a girl who’s likely doing good, whose life has been turned upside down by someone who has absolutely zero common sense.

    Something that we’ve lost, that’s for sure.

    -bill

  5. @Karl,

    That’s OK, I’ll take the dig. It’s right on target.

    I’m just amazed at the panic mentality that we’ve taken on. Pure hysteria perpetuated by the media and latched on to by the gullible, non-thinking public.

    Of course, none of this sits well while I research projects for my political science class.

    -bill

  6. you wrote:
    >While I can agree with the nuisance value, I do not see
    >the value in charging
    > these folks with a felony. Fining them to recoup costs?
    >Sure.
    >But threatening with a felony conviction that would
    >seriously impact their entire lives?
    >That’s a prosecutor that’s gone overboard.

    On the other side of that, there’s the deterence value of the *threat* of a felony charge, and the *actual* $4,000 cost to the sprinklers.

    It may not be just about this incident. It may be about deterring some other folks from thinking it’s funny to get the first responders in a tizzy.

    Having seen copycat bomb threats pull valuable resources away from regular duty I’m OK with the actual resolution.

    From the way I read the story, the prosecutors dropped the charges and so may not have been attempting to pad their records of conviction. On the political side I stipulate that they did show responsiveness to the concerns of whatever civilian called in the alert.

    $4,000 for a lapse in judgement when Al-Qaeda is apparently threatening to attack shopping malls. Cheap at the price to my mind.

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